The Calgary Flames needed a goaltender badly for the 2016-2017 season. Their defense was dead last in the NHL the year before, and the Flames needed to return to the postseason to show their surprise run two years earlier was not a fluke.
After several names were thrown around, the Flames traded a second round pick in 2016 and a conditional third round pick in 2018 to St. Louis for starting goalie and playoff hero Brian Elliott.
It is still very early to make grades on this transaction because the Blues are still waiting to see how their picks turn out. One pick will be determined at next year’s draft, and the second round, and 35th overall, pick from last year, Jordan Kyrou, is currently in the OHL playing for Sarnia. The Blues must like what they are seeing from him. He has 30 goals and 64 assists in his third season with the Sting.
The Flames did not have that luxury with Elliott at the beginning of the season. He was bludgeoned against the Oilers twice in his first two starts, and his struggles continued into November. Chad Johnson eventually took over the starting goaltender position for the next two months in order to keep Calgary afloat in the wild card race.
Since right before the All-Star break, Elliott has undoubtedly taken control of the pipes. He won a must-win overtime game in Ottawa on Jan. 26, the final game before the All-Star break. Including that win, Elliott has been the hottest goaltender in the league. He is 15-1-1 in his last 17 starts, and that includes winning 11 straight games. With the 5-2 victory over Los Angeles, Elliott is currently tied with Mike Vernon for the most consecutive wins in Flames history, and he can break that record if he can defeat Washington at the Verizon Center on Tuesday.
Just three months ago, this trade had been heavily lopsided in favor of St. Louis. They already had one promising prospect that they took for a goalie that had greatly underachieved. Elliott, however, has turned the tide during the second half of the season. His 17-game stretch has been great enough to bring his GAA down from over three in January to 2.46 after Sunday’s win over the Kings. In fact, his GAA at the Scotiabank Saddledome is down to 2.09 for the season.
If Kyrou can make a solid impact for St. Louis in the next five years, then this could be a trade that evens out nicely. There is, however, a hope in Calgary that Elliott can add some magic that he displayed in St. Louis’s playoff run last season. Carrying the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals would make the Flames an overwhelming winner in this trade. Even if the Flames fall short, they can bask in the glory of Elliott’s historic winning streak that has essentially helped the Flames roll into the playoffs.